30 Apr Get a grade A in art
Will an A in your A level art win you a place at art college / university?
A level art, Advanced Higher Art…with the exam season upon us, the pressure is on to get the best grades as you can – naturally.
The very first requirement that you need to comply with for your UCAS application is to meet the exam grades.
This can be the first hurdle as they are very high these days – mainly due to the fact that most of the Scottish Art Schools now are not independent and are part of the University of each particular city.
Although Glasgow is not, but still, the entry grades there are the highest.
- Glasgow School of Art requires Highers: ABBB and above (one sitting) or AABB and above (two sittings) OR A Levels: ABB plus GCSE English Language at grade A.
- Edinburgh College of Art requires Highers: ABBB by the end of S5 OR A Levels: ABB plus GCSE English Language at grade C.
If you’re unsure about HOW you can improve your grades then really your art teacher should be able to provide guidance on this.
Also, by downloading the Unit Specification for A Level Art or Higher Art for from your exam board you’ll be able to see more about how your work is assessed and how to increase your grades.
In my experience this starts many of us creative types off on a challenge as we’re not necessarily academic AND creative, I know I certainly wasn’t at school.
However, most of us will excel in Art or Design and assume that because we get an A or even a B in these subjects then it’s a given that we’ll get an offer at art college/university.
I’ve worked with many students who have A’s at Higher Art or A Level Art and aren’t offered places at college. You might be wondering ‘Why is this?’
Well, my experience tells me that the main focus on Higher and Advanced Higher Art, also A Level Art to a degree – although it does vary from school to school, is mainly on mastery of skills, technical skills, and perception to represent objects and subjects accurately.
I see very little that explores ideas, how to communicate an idea that shows the process of firstly having the idea, then how you arrived at the final outcome.
Sometimes this process is evident but it’s very artificial and often the sketchbook and development are done AFTER the final piece has been decided upon.
This is something that we focus on strongly on my portfolio preparation course.
Often students leave pages blank to complete at a later date in the creative process but really this renders the creative process useless.
Your decision making and creative process are supposed to DRIVE you to your final piece – not just be something that’s done to tick the boxes.
So in short, no, you don’t need to get an A in your A level art or Higher art, as long as you have the overall requirements, so a B might be enough. However of course, the higher the grade, the higher you’ll score overall.
The single most important thing over and above reaching those grades is your portfolio.
If you recognize some of what I’ve talked about here then maybe it’s time to make some changes.
Changing the way you’re thinking and working at S5 or even S4 (or year 12 outside Scotland) will give you such a head start on making your winning portfolio.
So in short, no you don’t need to get an A at A Level Art to Higher Art as long as you have the overall requirements, so a B might be enough. The single most important thing over and above reaching those entrance requirements is your portfolio.
If you recognize some of what I’ve talked about here then maybe it’s time to make some changes. Changing the way you’re thinking and working at S5 or even S4 (or year 12 outside Scotland) will give you such a head start on making your winning portfolio.
If you’ve not already downloaded my “Top 10 mistakes that are holding you back from success at your first choice art school” [link above] please do as many of these simple mistakes are avoidable.
Hoping this finds you well and remember that if you’d like to discuss anything with me personally you can reach me here.
‘It was as good as being with you face to face so when I started on my own at home, I knew I was heading in the right direction and grew in confidence with the exploration instead of second-guessing myself ‘. Cathy Wagstaff
This article was written by Julie Read, a leading educator in the Creative Industries, as featured in The Guardian newspaper, on a mission to create a legacy to ‘unlock your creative genius’.
My passion and mission is your art portfolio, to help to get you that place at college or university.
CLARITY, in particular around the creative process, sketchbooks, and what the Colleges actually want to see are the founding principles.